Create a Project My Work Report in SharePoint

So let’s say you’ve gone through the effort of creating a project management site template in SharePoint, complete with all sorts of lists for capturing all important project related data. Good for you! You’re well on your way to using SharePoint in one of the best ways it was intended to be used. But what good is all that data if it’s hidden away in various corners of the project site – wouldn’t it be better if that information bubbled its way up to more readily accessible locations on the site? Of course! I’ll show you one way to do just that in this post. We’ll be creating a new “My Work” page that will report on tasks and issues assigned to me (in this case “me” and “my” equate to the user currently logged into the SharePoint site and viewing the page). The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that you have the underlying lists “Tasks” and “Issue Tracking” as part of the site; these two list apps should be available to you out of the box with SharePoint as part of the template gallery. Feel free to add or hide columns on these lists to match your data gathering preferences.     Next…

6 Easy Ways to Use OneNote for Project Management

I recently outlined some key features of Microsoft’s digital note-taking application, OneNote. I hope these tips boosted your productivity and made collaboration a little easier! If you are ready to explore the benefits of OneNote for project management  in more detail, read on. By the end of this article, you will know how to link OneNote and Outlook for improved task lists and email collaboration, and organize your notebooks effectively using lists and tags.   Link OneNote and Outlook   Tasks Outlook offers limited functionality when creating detailed tasks. By integrating OneNote with Outlook, you can organize tasks with links to relevant files, meeting notes and any additional resources needed to complete work efficiently. To get started, open Outlook, select ‘File’ and ‘Options’. Navigate to ‘Add-ins’ and select ‘COM Add-ins’ under Manage. Click ‘Go’.     Select ‘OneNote Notes about Outlook Items’ from the menu and finish by clicking ‘OK’. OneNote is now available within Outlook.     Before adding tasks to OneNote, consider how to organize and track tasks. It may be useful to set up a new notebook for all tasks or add a section within a project notebook to store related tasks. Creating tasks in OneNote using…

Microsoft’s One More Thing: Surface Studio

All the leading tech companies like to do big reveal days once or twice a year, and recently it was Microsoft’s turn. They announced a bunch of stuff, and one post would definitely not do it all justice, so today I am just going to focus on the Surface Studio and the Surface Dial. It’s not for nothing that the phrase ‘one more thing’ has become associated with the late great Steve Jobs, who used it to launch some of best tech products of the last 20 years (it also launched a fair amount of rubbish as well). For many years, the cool stuff Apple launched made Microsoft look every inch the boring beige-box tech company that gave us Clippy, Steve Ballmer shouting, and such exciting innovations as the ribbon in Microsoft Office (a great innovation, but did it ever make you happy?). Well Surface Studio sure changes all that. Surface Cool Recent years have seen Microsoft turn the boring label around, most especially with the Surface family of innovative devices, originally launched back in 2012 alongside Windows 8 (while it was still under shouty Steve!).  The Surface two-in-one concept was invention of a new class of device; sure, we’d seen tablets before,…

Sync Office 365 Group Files with OneDrive for Business

UPDATE: It seems that the below process uses the old Groove Client. My colleagues in support recommend not doing it this way unless you really have to! According to the Office Roadmap, the feature I want is still in development. 🙁 Office 365 Groups are a really great way of setting up a light virtual-community for small projects or groups within companies. You can have easily have a group conversation, a shared OneNote, group calendar and a shared file folder. Until quite recently, one of the things you were not able to do was sync Office 365 Group Files with OneDrive for Business. Why is this a pain? For a start, if you create a new document that pertains to the group, you have to manually add it to the shared library – this isn’t a big hassle,  but it does mean that you generally end up with two versions of the doc in your recent documents folder, the early one you saved to your desktop and the the one you finally dragged into the group shared folder. Re-opening a document from an Office client requires to you to be pretty au fait with pinning documents folders and so on. First time…

Microsoft Office Tips: Styles and Headings in Word – Use Them!

In this post, I will give a basic introduction to styles and headings in Microsoft Word and explain why you should use them. Microsoft Word is probably the first Microsoft application most people encounter and use. Everyone instinctively understands that, you type in the words, they appear on the screen, on the thing that looks like a sheet of paper. There are all these buttons on the top that make it easy to change the way the text appears – what more do you need? The thing is, Microsoft has been making Office for a while now and has a good understanding of what most people need to use their software. They provide you with a load of paragraph styles that should cover most scenarios. Woah – what’s a paragraph style you say? A style is a set of formatting instructions for a piece of text. The key thing to understand about styles is that they are reusable – you should not be applying the same set of formatting steps multiple times – you should be applying a style to the text. Styles Bar Styles can be discovered on the Home tab, right beside the buttons that do all the…

Microsoft Office Tips: Use the Quick Access Toolbar

I’m one of these annoying PC users who know and use tons of keyboard and productivity shortcuts. I live in Microsoft Office, in particular Work, Excel and Outlook. In this series of blog posts, I will share some of my wisdom with you – lucky you! Joking aside, the idea is that if you are a project manager or a team member, these tips will save you time and enable you  to do more. What is the Quick Access Toolbar? The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) is that little ribbon generally found over the ribbon to which you can add your own commands. The Ribbon was introduced in Office 2007 to much weeping and gnashing of teeth – it is hard to believe that people preferred to search for commands in menus and submenus. I had a friend who was an Office trainer who totally hated it. Imagine trying to make people go back to the below today! However, the Ribbon is not perfect. You can often find yourself suddenly overwhelmed by the multitude of options in the visual array and forget why you are looking at it! The reality of a feature rich application like Word or PowerPoint is that 20% of the commands are the ones…

The Future of SharePoint – The Latest from Microsoft

Microsoft yesterday unveiled a cloud-first, mobile-first revamp for SharePoint to “empower people, teams and organizations to intelligently discover, share and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device”. In a blog post titled The Future of SharePoint, Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for the OneDrive and SharePoint teams, explained four areas of innovation for the SharePoint platform: Simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration on any device. The mobile and intelligent intranet, with modern team sites, publishing and business applications on your desktop and in your pocket. An open and connected platform that evolves SharePoint extensibility to embrace modern web development. Investments in security, privacy and compliance across Office 365. Better Collaboration and Document Management The first innovation is described as “unified access and intelligent discovery” of your files, giving you the ability to easily create, manage and collaborate on documents – no matter where you are and what device you are using. Check out this blog to learn more about the improved document management and collaborative capabilities coming to SharePoint. Mobile and Intelligent Intranet To me, one of the most exciting announcements in the post was the announcement of SharePoint mobile apps designed for iOS, Android and Windows devices. The apps will provide access to your…

Add Videos to SharePoint 2013

From a project management point of view, ensuring that your team has easy access to training is often key to project success. In this post I’m going to describe how to add multiple videos to SharePoint and to make them all accessible from one page by adding navigation that means the users don’t have to leave the page. This post assumes that you have multiple videos that you want to make available in SharePoint; however, if you only have one video to start with, you should still find value to the post. Get iframe Embed Codes The easiest way to get the iframe embed codes is to add the movies to  a video hosting platform like Wistia or YouTube. If this is not possible, you can use a SharePoint Assets library to get the iframe embed codes. Click Site Contents | add an app | Assets Library.Note: The Assets Library can sometimes be found on the second page of available apps. Upload the movies to the library. Click on a movie thumbnail to go to the page for that movie.  Click < > on the movie to open the code window. Copy and paste the code into a text editor and…

Red Amber Green (RAG) Reporting in Vanilla SharePoint

I’ve noticed the same question appearing in a few groups recently – “Help! How can I create a RAG Status in Vanilla SharePoint?”.  As there are a few steps involved, this led me to put together the following blog to help those in need out. It must be from my childhood years as a Girl Guide! A quick heads up for those that don’t want to reinvent the wheel – BrightWork has a great set of free templates that already have projects set up with some RAG reporting that is free to download. So, let’s get started! Get your Icons! First, you’ll need to add the icons you want to use to the SharePoint site. If you don’t have any on hand, a Bing Image search for Red – Amber – Green icons can pop up some great example. Or you can just use the ones we made for you below! (right-click and select save to desktop) Tip: We recommend using Bing for image searches, as it includes the ability to filter by licence type.     If you make or source your own images, 1616 or 3232 pixels works best. trust me – any bigger and you won’t be very popular. Upload Icons to the…

Project Lifecycle Management & Out-of-the-Box SharePoint 2013

Live Webinars in August! Our August webinar schedule includes Project Lifecycle Management Using SharePoint and How to Manage Projects Using Out-of-the-Box SharePoint 2013. Check out the details below and register to join us. We would love to see you there! Imagine being able to control the full lifecycle of your projects in SharePoint? YES, we’re talking from project idea right through to project completion – all in SharePoint. Join us live and see how you too can use SharePoint to: Manage your pipeline of project requests Organize in-flight projects Efficiently control projects of all sizes from initiation to close Register: [US] Tuesday, Aug 4th at 9.30am PT/12.30pm ET  Register: [Int’l] Thursday, Aug 6th at 10am GMT/11am CET Out-of-the-box SharePoint 2013 provides awesome capabilities to support project management initiatives in your organization. Learn how to leverage these capabilities to enable a collaborative environment where project teams can: Consistently initiate, plan, track and control all projects. Get real-time status reports and make decisions faster. Communicate efficiently and stay connected to their work & each other! Bonus: This session will also show how SharePoint 2013 can be further extended for more advanced project and portfolio management. Register: Tuesday, August 18th at 9.30am PT / 12.30pm ET / 5.30pm GMT  

My Top 5 takeaways for SharePoint 2016 from Microsoft Ignite

Hmmm … the first takeaway is that it is too early to say much with real certainty! Beta is in Q3, a release candidate probably in Q1 2016, and the release is Q2 2016, so understandably a lot more is planned than got a mention at Ignite. To give you an idea … of the 150 sessions flagged as SharePoint only 6 mention SharePoint 2016, with the two stand outs being “The Evolution Of SharePoint: Overview and Roadmap” and “What’s New For IT Professionals In SharePoint Server 2016”. Second, is that there is a SharePoint 2016 … and there will be a SharePoint 2019 and probably beyond that (Julia White, SharePoint GM confirmed this)! This was repeated time and again. Obviously previous conferences had left it hanging in the air a bit but this time around there was none of that! The all-app message does remain and apps (now to be called add-ins) are as much for on-premises as the cloud. The approach … Cloud Inspired. SharePoint Server 2016 is being built on a version of SharePoint taken from the Office 365 cloud environment for the first time, and so the years that Microsoft has spent learning how to run…

My Top 5 new Microsoft Project 2016 Client Features from the Microsoft Ignite Conference

BrightWork customers will know that we have been long time advocates of the Microsoft Project client and the Professional edition in particular. With the new version set to ship in the Fall I would highlight my (current) top 5 new features that are coming in that release. Firstly though, it is worth noting that there is shipping no dependency on Microsoft Project Server 2016 which will ship in Q2 2016, so you can start using it straight away with SharePoint 2013 based products like BrightWork and Project Server. So, what were the main highlighted features mentioned last week at the Microsoft Ignite Conference? User interface More fluent user interface … the interface appears to be another incremental improvement, so if you are familiar with current interface you should find new features easily, and if you are new to Project hopefully the discoverability of features will be easier also. Multiple timelines Timelines, added in Project 2013, were a huge hit and this feature has been advanced in this release to support multiple timelines within a single project file. The additional good news is that this is planned to also be reflected in SharePoint. Apps that can update Project files When Offices…

[Video] Evolve to Manage a More Complex Work Breakdown Structure Using SharePoint and Microsoft Project

One of the biggest parts of project management is the project process, i.e. project goals, tasks, risks, issues, etc. This could be a lot of process, it could be a little bit of process … but whatever the amount, the processes are the basis for your project management approach. The beauty of SharePoint is the ability to connect your project processes directly into your project site. SharePoint 2013 makes it even easier for you to manage project processes, especially project tasks using the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)! One you have started and have the first process mastered, it’s time to evolve to manage a more complex WBS, where you can use both Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Project. The evolved project management site can be configured to support a standardized formal project process with a well defined phases and content to support all the processes associated with them. Why would we use Microsoft Project? Microsoft Project gives you an easy tool to manage the planning and replanning cycles that are an important part of your project management process.  With MS Project, you can quickly visualize what has been accomplished on the project and what the impact is to future tasks. And with the SharePoint Sync, you can easily…

How to get Office 365 on your Mobile

As BrightWork is a Microsoft ISV, we probably have more people with Windows mobiles than most offices and for those guys, getting Office 365 on their mobiles is pretty easy, but what about the rest of us? What if you’re a project manager who needs their team to be not only able to get office email when on the road, but to also view and edit documents like the guys with Windows mobiles have been able to for ages? Surprisingly, pretty much everything Microsoft related that can be done on a Windows phone can now be done on an iOS or Android device. You can get: Microsoft Office apps like Word; Excel and PowerPoint Microsoft Outlook OneDrive for Business Lync OneNote Microsoft Office I have found this useful for reading a doc on my mobile but realistically, I don’t think anyone will be doing any heavy editing on a mobile. I have yet to try it out on a tablet and I guess that experience would be better; also, the incoming Office 16 is supposed to make great strides in the mobile experience. Get Microsoft Office Mobile from the Android Play store With Apple, the Office apps are available individually and…

5 Tips for Keeping IT projects on Track and Other Links…

Microsoft killing some features in Office 365 SharePoint Online – In the past few weeks, Microsoft has slowly started to kill some features from SharePoint Online. Before we go on, here are some of the features that you will slowly see disappear from your SharePoint Online tenant.  Absolute SharePoint Blog Uncovering the ROI of SharePoint – Your priorities should always be in that order — people first, process second, technology a distant third. And yet, many organizations often flip them, putting technology ahead of people and process….and this is where problems occur and business alignment fails. buckleyPLANET Increasing Employee Productivity by Boosting Microsoft SharePoint Performance – SharePoint 2013 has capabilities to increase collaboration in organizations. In talking to executives about their SharePoint deployments, Mike Iem found that a strong link exists between perfromance and productivity. Virtual-Strategy Magazine Project Management is Issue Management – With a good plan in place the key to successful execution then becomes all around how quickly issues are identified, raised and closed. With a good plan in place the key to successful execution then becomes all around how quickly issues are identified, raised and closed. Adventures in Project Management SharePoint Users Stick with Older Versions, Eye Hybrid Cloud #SPTechCon –…

Stop Reinventing the (Project Management) Wheel!

When it comes to project management, there’s no shortage of activity required to keep the project ship afloat. Meetings (and more meetings!), planning, communicating, managing people, managing tasks, managing vendors, putting out issue fires, etc., keep us quite the busy person. Any tool that can eliminate some management effort would be greatly appreciated. Enter SharePoint to the rescue! When you think project management made easier, think SharePoint site templates. So let’s say you have a project site in SharePoint with all the bells and whistles you need. This may include lists such as Project Charter, Project Tasks, Issues, Risks, and Lessons Learned. Upon closer inspection you realize that not only are the lists just right with a great mix of pre-configured columns complete with the choices you need etc., but those tasks and risks you entered would be perfect for future projects of this type as well, and it sure would be tedious to keep entering them each time you create a new project site. And that Quick Launch going down the left side of your site…it’s a work of art! It has all of your organization’s processes perfectly grouped together just as your protocol dictates – your project calendar,…

App Review: 2Day for Windows

I personally find it really hard to stay on top of all the things I have to do. I’ve tried keeping a paper checklist, using the OneNote Task check box and using Outlook. Paper gets lost, I love OneNote, but a task manager it is not and the Outlook task experience is just not great. I’ve tried using Outlook to manage tasks a few times but it just fell by the wayside. Step forward 2Day for Windows; a task management application for Windows 8 that really proves what good UI can achieve. This is the first time I’ve liked the full screen Windows 8 app experience.   The app is available as a 30 Day Trial for both Windows Phone and Windows 8. The full version costs $2.99 for Windows Phone and $5.99 for the Windows Version. As far as I can make out, buying the desktop version entitles you to a copy of the Windows Phone version – but don’t hold me to that as I don’t have a Windows Phone and wasn’t able to verify this. The app itself is very simple, intuitive and pleasant to use. To this is why I will be prepared to part with $6 for…

Weekend Links: Why We Collaborate, Yammer and Other Stories

This weeks’ round up covers everything from Yammer and why we collaborate, to SharePoint planning, to basic tips for project management.  Enjoy! Why We Collaborate – Exploring Yammer Maturity & Engagement – Interesting article on collaboration and the stages of Yammer maturity.  Perficient Focus on the Last Mile of SharePoint Automation – Christian Buckley looks at some best practices for designing SharePoint solutions with the goal of improving end user productivity.  CMS Wire Changes within Microsoft Do Not Mean SharePoint’s Demise – Mark Rackley looks explains why the SharePoint brand is not going anywhere.  IT Unit Take Control of Growing SharePoint Environments – An article exploring how you can manage and maintain high-performing SharePoint environments, even as users and content grow. CMS Wire 7 Indispensable project management tips – A look at some of the common factors of project management success.  InfoWorld Predictions for the SharePoint UX – Highlights from Christian Buckley’s May 2014 #CollabTalk tweetjam.  IT Unity Back to Basics (Again) with Enterprise Collaboration – A mid-year check up on enterprise collaboration and technology goals. CMS Wire Logo

Get rid of ‘View Entries’ in a SharePoint 2013 Append-Only Column in a View

It’s unlikely that the word ‘collaboration‘ would be missing from any high-level description of SharePoint. Collaboration is supposed to be one of the main benefits of SharePoint and it is; however, sometimes SharePoint makes it harder to collaborate than it really should be. Take a ‘Multiple lines of text’ column with Append Changes enabled – this is a great feature as it allows you to have a conversation right in a list item. Who said what, when they said it and what they said is captured for all to see – just like in a forum (if you are not familiar with this feature, don’t worry – I will explain how to enable it in the steps below). In this post I will describe how to get these comments and the associated metadata to appear in a ‘view’ – you will need SharePoint Designer 2013 for this. I will be applying the changes to our free SharePoint project management templates, but you should be able to follow the steps in your own SharePoint site or in the full BrightWork product (click the link to take a free trial). The crux of the problem I am addressing today is that when…

Using SharePoint Lists and Workflow for Project Risk Management

One of the great things about SharePoint lists and associated workflows is that when applied correctly, they make it easier to adhere to your own project management processes with greater consistency. Take project risk management for instance – while many of us know that we should consistently keep an eye on our projects’ identified risks and escalate/link them to project issues as soon as the need arises, this process is not always completed. Now if we could only get SharePoint to assist in this important step, the frequency with which we complete this task will likely increase. So let’s get SharePoint to lend us a hand! Project Risk Management in SharePoint – Get Started Free Today First thing you’ll need is a SharePoint Team Site that will eventually be the basis for a reusable site template for your future project management site needs. In this site create two separate SharePoint lists for capturing your identified project risks and issues, complete with any columns relevant to how you manage these processes. For some ideas in this regard, please see my prior risk management blog post. Be sure to have at least a few columns that are the same in both lists as you’ll be copying the…

Project Risk Management with SharePoint

Project risk management is quite often one of those activities on an organization’s project management To-Do list that is either skipped altogether, or done with a fair amount of attention in the beginning of the project during the planning stage, and then put aside, basically forgotten and left to gather dust once the project hits its stride in execution. But why is this? If skipped, the underlying reason is often that the project team doesn’t very well understand how to do it, or it can be perceived as being very time consuming. If left unattended as the project progresses into execution, it might very well be that the collateral used for its management is too far down in the documentation pile to have the visibility it needs for the proper level of attention. A bit of team instruction and a whole lot of SharePoint can solve this issue. When beginning the team risk management session, first thing is to not assume that the larger team knows how to do proper risk management. Although you personally may be well versed in this crucial project element, and feel that it is somewhat intuitive, your colleagues may not share this comfort level. So whatever…

BCS Example: Take advantage of external data columns in existing BrightWork lists

We have had many inquiries about how you could use external data or external content types in SharePoint with Business Connectivity Services to an advantage. Here is an example of the potential gain of using external data through BCS and how you can use it with BrightWork. 1. Summary BCS is a SharePoint service which allows you to connect to pieces of data like SQL content databases. Once connected to these data sources you can then create SharePoint lists from this data. In this blog, we will attempt to explain a use for SharePoint BCS inside BrightWork with a real world example. The example is, you have a software system used by all employees for time tracking which is external to SharePoint. For the purposes of this example, we will simply say this system records effort in hours in one column and this is recorded against a project code column in the other. Aside from this system, you use SharePoint and BrightWork to track other project management progress and success. What if you could bring the project code and effort data into SharePoint and BrightWork lists so that you can start to take advantage of both systems? Well, you can and here is…

Create a Workflow that Fires when a Value Changes

Despite three generations of SharePoint Designer Workflows, you still have to use a trick to get a workflow to fire when something changes to something else (e.g. someone changes the value in an Item Status column from ‘Draft’ to ‘Submitted’). Note: This post assumes you have some knowledge of creating workflows in SharePoint Designer. Manage Projects with SharePoint – Get Started Free Today. Workflow Scenario Imagine you have a Change Request list that needs a workflow that does the following: If the Change Request Status column in the item is set to ‘For Action’, you want the person specified as the Assignee to be notified (via email) that they have an item they need to action If the Change Request Status column in the item is set to ‘For Review’, you want the person specified as the Approver to be notified (via email) that they have an item they need to review and either Approve or send back for Rework If the Approver sets the Change Request Status column to ‘Rework’, you want the item Assignee to be notified of same and the reasons that the Approver gave. If the Approver sets the Change Request Status column to ‘Approved’, you want…

SharePoint 2013: How to avoid common administrative and upgrade issues

Since our exciting transition to SharePoint 2013, we have experienced a number of issues, which took us some time to overcome. In this blog I want to share with you some of these principle issues, to save you time when making the transition to the SharePoint 2013 platform! Things to watch out for when upgrading from SharePoint 2010 Following an upgrade from SharePoint 2010 you may come across difficulty when using the create a new item form, edit form or display form on certain lists in your site. You may receive the following messages. Sorry, something went wrong. An unexpected error has occurred. This will affect all lists which were created from a list template at any time in the past inside of SharePoint 2010 after you migrate to SharePoint 2013 RTM (reproduced with SharePoint 2013 RTM(base level) Server and Foundation). This can be resolved by installing the April 2013 CU. Therefore if your upgrading from SharePoint 2010 you must take on the April 2013 CU for SharePoint 2013.  SharePoint 2013 restore changes to be aware of when migrating sites from one SharePoint 2013 server to another On SharePoint 2010, you could restore sites collections in the following scenarios using backup-spsite and restore-spsite…

Easily Hide the Quick Launch in SharePoint 2013

In SharePoint 2010, the Quick Launch was missing from web part pages and I addressed how to remedy this in the Enabling the Quick Launch post. In SharePoint 2013, the problem is the opposite – the Quick Launch is mandatory! In this post I’ll address how to remedy this for one page and also how to make it really easy to do it for all pages on a page by page basis.   Start Managing Successful Projects on SharePoint! Get Started Free Today   Add a Script Editor web part to a page. Click EDIT SNIPPET and paste in the below code: <style type="text/css"> #sideNavBox {DISPLAY: none} #contentBox {MARGIN-LEFT: 5px} </style> Click Insert and the Quick Launch will disappear. See below for an extra tip to make this easier in the future: Click Edit Web Part on the web part menu, expand Advanced, select Export All Data from the Export Mode menu and click Apply. Click Export on the web part menu and save the web part to your desktop. Navigate to the Site Collection home page and click Settings | Site settings. Click Web parts in the Web Designer Galleries section. Click Files | Upload Document and select the exported web…

Ten Benefits of Good Project Management and Other Stories of the Week

Last week was the Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference and with it came some exciting news from Microsoft.  This week we have a round up of some news from WPC13, as well as some useful tips on the benefits of project management, handling PM software and Yammer! Ten Benefits of Good Project Management The benefits of good project management serve all those who are involved in the process: the manager who is responsible for the project, the customer who is anxiously waiting for the completed project and the production team that gets this project up and running. Understanding benefits of professional management is not difficult, but they often get dressed up that way. At its base lies the basic organisation skills that are necessary to succeed in any project. (Project Accelerator) One Microsoft: Company realigns to enable innovation at greater speed, efficiency “Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.” (Microsoft) Grow Your Business with Yammer Breakout #WPC13 Monday afternoon at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference I attended a session…

The Improved SharePoint 2013 to Project Sync

The 2010 versions of SharePoint and Project introduced the two-way sync, where project schedules are built in either Project or in a SharePoint task list, and changes are synchronized in both directions. SharePoint and Project 2013 enhances this capability, making it much easier for team members to update their project tasks, and for project managers to keep project plans up to date with progress. SharePoint 2013 WBS Tasks List Briefly, before I get started into some of the improvements with the sync, I will first point out the new WBS tasks list in SharePoint 2013. This new tasks list allows you to have tasks and sub-tasks, indent and out-dent tasks, move them around then quickly mark them as complete.  So not only is it intuitive to use, but it mimics a Work Breakdown Structure.  So that’s now an integral part of the out-of-the-box SharePoint 2013 experience.  So it’s incredibly easy to plan and move stuff around in SharePoint 2013 (much like Project), but you can’t calculate in the browser using SharePoint.  You have to push the plan out to Project 2013 to get calculated answers. You see in the SharePoint 2013 ribbon above there is the Open with Project button,…

BrightWork Project Structured Template – Must Knows

Continuing with my theme of “Must Knows”, cutting to the chase for various BrightWork topics, here my fellow blog readers is information about the great BrightWork Project Structured template – happy syncing! Only use MS Project Professional 2010 with BrightWork for SharePoint 2010. Do not use MS Project Pro 2013 with BrightWork for SharePoint 2010 or issues will not be far behind! And please patch your desktop installation of Project to ensure smooth syncing. Yes, you need MS Project Professional for sync with SharePoint to work – plain old MS Project will not work. Task number 1 in the MPP must be the most outdented summary task for the entire file, with all other summary tasks and tasks being children of this number 1 task. So if you collapse this top task, all other tasks should disappear from the view. Been a while since you installed BrightWork? Check out our Community Gallery download section for the latest and greatest BrightWork macro-enabled MS Project MPP file. You’ll be sure to have the latest sync fixes and capability that the MPP has to offer. There is a limit to how many total characters a task name could have when it comes to syncing Project.…

How to Get Your Executives to Participate on Yammer, and Other Stories of the Week

It’ that time of the week again to bring you some of the stories we have gathered and found that might help your pursuit of collaborative project management success! How to Get Your Executives to Participate on Yammer (The Yammer Blog) You have 15 minutes of your Senior Manager’s time. Your goal: encourage his/her participation on Yammer. What are the three items you would focus on? United Airlines reduces web content administration from months to hours with enterprise solution (SharePoint Team Blog) In 2012, the airline deployed SharePoint Server 2013 for a variety of projects-including a service catalog that 87,000 employees rely on to search for and order products from the IT department. By using SharePoint Server 2013, United has also simplified content management-the amount of time required to enter a new item into the catalog has plummeted from two months to a few hours. Free Project 2013 quick start training available on demand (Project Team Blog) Whether you are a novice user of Microsoft Project 2013 or you want to learn about IT Professional or developer topics, please consider our new quick start training for Project 2013 – it’s free and on demand. [Video] Project Management Success – Get…

Reporting on Metrics from Microsoft Project in SharePoint

Microsoft Project is an amazing tool to do project scheduling and calculations, so you obviously want to you that. But what if you are using SharePoint as your collaborative project management platform (and if you are not, you should be!). Then how do you report on all that information in SharePoint for the rest of the team? As you know, SharePoint 2010 included the ability to synchronize back and forth with MS Project Pro 2010.  And better yet, BrightWork templates come pre-loaded with a Microsoft Project Plan file that enhances the out-of-the-box SharePoint to MS Project synchronization.  In these templates the relationship between the project site and the project plan is established automatically, and BrightWork also adds additional column mapping for reporting on extra Microsoft Project data such as costs, baselines and durations. Microsoft Project has an amazing amount of information which would be almost impossible to manage in your head or calculate manually in SharePoint.  And the beauty of it all is that you can let Project do all the work, sync it back into SharePoint and then all the team needs is web browser to access it. For example, see the Gantt chart below.  It is the same exact Gantt and…

Restore Navigate Up on SharePoint 2013 AND SharePoint 2016!

Note: This blog post was updated to reflect the fact that the technique also works on SharePoint 2016 and Office 365; however, you should be aware that Microsoft strongly recommend not editing Master Pages in O365. With every new version of SharePoint, one of the things that we have to do is work out the implication of various features being pulled or deprecated. You can find a TechNet article on the subject here (SharePoint 2013) and here (SharePoint 2016). With SharePoint 2013, the removal of the Design view from SharePoint Designer is probably one of the biggest. One that really surprised me was the removal of the Navigate Up menu that replaced the site breadcrumbs in SharePoint 2010. This article will tell you how to bring it back.   FREE DOWNLOAD: TWO TEMPLATES FOR LITE AND STRUCTURED PROJECT MANAGEMENT ON SHAREPOINT   You will need SharePoint Designer 2013 for this. SharePoint Designer 2013 is currently the tool to use on SharePoint 2016 and afaik there are no plans for SharePoint Designer 2016. This is the Navigate Up menu in a 2010 site. At BrightWork, we have always seen SharePoint as something that should be structured hierarchically, with parent sites and child sites. It seems…

SharePoint 2013 and Project Management: Connecting People to the Project

So the past couple of articles I’ve posted have explored some of the new and enhanced functionality in SharePoint 2013 as it relates to project management.  And remember this quick and easy project management process we’ve been working with?: Processes Reporting Collaboration (Social!) Evolution One of the most critical factors in collaborative project management is just that… collaboration!  It is terribly important that team members be connected to their work, but also to each other and up-to-date project information.  There have been massive improvements in SharePoint 2013 in this area of collaboration, especially social. Connecting People to the Project One of the new features you will see in SharePoint are the Newsfeeds.  The same type of social newsfeeds you are used to in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is now baked right into SharePoint 2013.  With the Newsfeed (pictured below) you’ll be connected to the conversations and updates on items that are important to you.  This new functionality makes the project social and keeping people connected to the project and each other in ways they would be used to in the “outside” world with social media. Source … Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog As you can see in the ribbon, all the…

SharePoint Designer 2013 Crashing on Open Site

So this morning I decided that I would kick-start my SharePoint 2013 investigation with understanding the implications of the Design View being deprecated in SharePoint Designer 2013 (SharePoint No-Designer anyone?). Every time I tried to open a site in SPD 2013, I would get a nasty crash. A quick search led me to discover that I was not the only one – see here for more info. Basically, it appears to be related to duplicate registry entry that can occur if you have a “side by side installation” of a previous version of SPD alongside 2013. To me, this seems like a pretty likely scenario, as SPD has always been pretty pernickity about the version of SharePoint it would work with; so, if you are regular SPD user, you will probably have multiple versions installed on your machine. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to resolve. Note: The steps here involve making a registry edit. If you don’t know what that is, then stop and leave and ask someone who does to help you (please). Open the registry editor and check if ClientGUID value under HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice14.0CommonOpen FindMicrosoft SharePoint DesignerSettingsOpen Site is the same as the ClientGUID value under HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0CommonOpen FindMicrosoft SharePoint DesignerSettingsOpen Site If the values…

SharePoint 2013 for Project Management: Reports

In my blog post last Friday, I noted that with the project management functionality that’s been added into the latest two releases of SharePoint, it is clear Microsoft wants us to use the platform to manage projects.  And in order to break down the functionality as it relates to project management, I proposed a very simple process to manage projects: Manage the processes Report on the processes Connect the people Evolve your methodology On Friday I explored some of the new and enhanced functionality to manage processes in SharePoint 2013, e.g. managing project deliverables, task management, issue management, etc.  Today, as I continue looking at what’s new for project management in SharePoint 2013, I’m going to walk through some the new and enhanced features to report on your processes. Reporting on Process in SharePoint 2013 One of the exciting new features that I pointed out last week was the new Work Breakdown Structure task list SharePoint 2013.  See list image below. You also have the ability to report on this list with a timeline view.  This view used to only be available in Project and Project Server, but this is an example of a report that’s available in SharePoint 2013…

Extending the Microsoft Project to SharePoint Sync with BrightWork

The release of SharePoint 2010 had included to the ability to sync back and forth with Microsoft Project Professional 2010.  The two-way sync has made it so easy for the Project Manager to plan the project in MS Project and the team to quickly update their tasks in SharePoint, making it quick and easy to share the most up-to-date plan with the team and senior management.  In a few recent blogs, we looked at using the Microsoft Project to SharePoint sync with a basic SharePoint site and using the sync with a customized SharePoint site for project management. The out-of-the-box Microsoft Project to SharePoint sync does have a few limitations, however.  But don’t be afraid – there are some customization steps you can take to work around these limitations.  And BrightWork has built in some neat features into their templates that will help with any limitations you may experience.  It really becomes a build or buy decision, but remember BrightWork already has it done for you! The short video clip below will touch on some of limitations of the sync and show you some customizations BrightWork has built in to enhance the Microsoft Project to SharePoint sync.  You’ll see some…

Using the Microsoft Project to SharePoint Sync with a Customized SharePoint Site for Project Management

Microsoft Project 2010 has the built-in capability to sync back and forth with SharePoint 2010, extending the project management capabilities of both tools. This feature allows project managers to manage the project schedule in MS Project while team members can access and update project information directly from a task list in SharePoint. With this two-way sync, the latest project plan is always available in the project site for everyone to see. In a blog post last week, we looked at how to use the Microsoft Project to SharePoint sync with a basic SharePoint site. In this short demo below, you will learn how to sync your Microsoft Project plan with a customized SharePoint site for project management.  This demo will cover: How to create a SharePoint site using a custom Microsoft Project template Create the project plan from content type Add custom columns to the SharePoint site Sync the plan back to Microsoft Project SharePoint views and reports.  

Using the Microsoft Project to SharePoint Sync with a Basic SharePoint Site

Microsoft Project 2010 has the built-in capability to sync back and forth with SharePoint 2010, extending the project management capabilities of both tools. This feature allows project managers to manage the project schedule in MS Project while team members can access and update project information directly from a task list in SharePoint. With this two-way sync, the latest project plan is always available in the project site for everyone to see. In this short demo below, you will learn how to sync your Microsoft Project plan with a basic SharePoint site.  This demo will cover: How to create a basic SharePoint site using the Microsoft Project template Create the project plan in Microsoft Project Sync and display the plan in SharePoint Sync updates back to Microsoft Project Conflict resolution  

Free SharePoint Project Management Template Now Available on Office 365

The Free SharePoint Project Management Template is now available for Office 365.  The free template will get you started managing projects with out-of-the-box SharePoint today. It extends SharePoint to provide a collaborative workspace to manage a project. The benefits of this template include: The ability to capture and organize project goals, issues, tasks and more. Out-of-the-box My Work reports, Gantt charts, discussion forums and team calendars Project status reports for real-time project visibility An optional sync with Microsoft Project The free template is available for download in the Office 365 Marketplace: http://office365.pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/applications/free-sharepoint-project-management-template-12884943482.    After you download the template, you will have access to a recorded training webcast on how to install, configure and use the template. Download the template now and enable your project teams to execute their work and stay connected and give your project managers and executives the information they require to make informed decisions and get work done. Update: The free templates currently only support SharePoint 2010.  Because most of Office 365 has been, or soon will be updated to SharePoint 2013, the templates will not work in that environment.  The templates will run on SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010. Update: The templates will run on all versions…

Turn Off ‘Enable Macros’ Warning for your Trusted Macros

If like me you use the BrightWork Project Sync macro to better manage your Microsoft Project to SharePoint Sync you might be interested in turning off the Microsoft Project Security Notice warning you receive every time you open the Microsoft Project file. The warning relates to the macros in the file that are used to establish an initial connection to SharePoint and also used to manage the additional data that gets passed to SharePoint for reporting purposes during the Sync. Although this notice is very useful, if you trust the macro is working as you would expect it can be nice to turn this warning off, even if it is only for yourself. Below are the steps (borrowed directly from “Digitally sign your macro project“). This process involves using a certificate to sign the macro. You can get a certificate from a number of sources but for expedience here we will create one for our own private use as follows: Click the Windows Start button, point to All Programs, click Microsoft Office, click Microsoft Office 2010 Tools, and then click Digital Certificate for VBA Projects. The Create Digital Certificate dialog appears. In the Your certificate’s name box, type a descriptive…

CAML Designer

AT the moment I am in the middle of updating our training documents for the upcoming BrightWork Master Class. As part of this update, I am finally getting around to creating a training guide that focuses on the Project Metrics List we launched in the last release of BrightWork. As some of you may know, the Metrics list allows you to select a BrightWork Report or a SharePoint list as the data source. When you select a list, you have the option of filtering the list data by selecting a view in the list, or by writing your own CAML. Obviously, creating a view is a far easier option but it also slightly risky as views can often be edited or deleted by other people. A far more secure option is to write your own CAML and use that to filter the list you are using to generate the metric. Collaborative Application Markup Language (CAML) is an XML-based language that is used in Microsoft SharePoint to define the fields and views that are used in sites and lists. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms426449.aspx for more information. When you setup filtering options in a view, it is done via CAML that is written for…

Microsoft Project Quick Tip: Entry bar

Microsoft Project 2010 has some fantastic improvements over the 2007 version … however, some trade-offs where needed in order to add these great features and one such trade-off that caught me out on more than one occasion is the short delay that occurs between when you click on task cell and when it takes the focus. This delay has caused me to start typing over task names, as opposed to editing the value, on a few occasions and although a Ctrl-Z quickly restores the original value it can slow you down. Thankfully, there is a very useful feature in Microsoft Project called the Entry bar that I found useful, but it is turned off by default. When enabled, an entry bar appears above the timeline and will take the focus immediately on being clicked. Problem solved! To enable the Entry bar do the following: In Microsoft Project select File | Options In the Project Options dialog select the Display tab and then check the Entry bar option Click OK Try it, you won’t regret it.

Microsoft Project Quick Tip: Where’s the Sync?

The SharePoint sync with Microsoft Project Professional 2010 is incredibly useful and normally very easy to run. Just select File when you are editing a project file and there it is, the big Sync button in the Info tab. [NOTE that Microsoft Project Professional 2010 is required to Sync with SharePoint, if you are running Microsoft Project Standard you probably already have your reason!] What is happening here though? There is no Sync button visible in this files Info tab. Many of you will know straight away, but if not, when you look closely you might notice that in this case we are connected to a Microsoft Project Server and as a result the Sync button is not displaying. Similarly, if you open the Save & Send tab, you will not see the options to establish a link to a SharePoint tasks list that you might normally expect to see. This is because Microsoft Project assumes that when you are connected to a Project Server you are unlikely to want to connect and Sync with SharePoint. What do you do then if you are running in a mixed environment i.e. where some of your projects are being tracked in Microsoft…